I’ve been thinking for a while now. Every now and then I get an idea of what to write about. But to be honest, I don’t, why? Because when I’m not working or doing small choirs around the house I like to play Grand Theft Auto Online with my friend back in Washington State.
One thought keeps knocking on the door in my brain like a Mormon who won’t leave you alone even after you said, “No, I don’t want a fucking Bible and I don’t want to talk about God either.” I’m not trying to go off on a “religion is bad” tangent.
Anyhow this thought keeps coming up like a cockroach in my house that I can’t get rid of. So I’m going to take this time to tell you about an event that happened over twenty years ago.
I was a kid, I was the disabled kid in an elementary school full of kids who might have been disabled in some shape or form, but unlike mine it was not physical, and that made me stick out like an white dude wearing tight jeans, a flannel button-up, a cowboy hat, with some cowboy boots hanging out at a bar in the middle of a black neighborhood in South Central Los Angles.
I got picked on all the time, but in all reality it only got worse when I graduated to middle school and the population of that school increased by five fold. Middle school or Jr. high is the time when kids look for popularity, and some of the ways they try to find it might use you as a pawn in a game of chess that you didn’t ask to play.
But I did not know this until I packed up and re-rooted my life to Washington State. Which was a good thing, my life completely changed for the better.
Back somewhere around the year of 1991, maybe 1992, I was in fifth grade and kids were slightly older than they were the year prior and some kids, a lot of them actually, started to develop the idea that, “if this guy thinks me making fun of this kid is funny then we can be friends.”
Thus starts a entire chain reaction, with me in the middle; at the time of this story this has been going on for a few years now. As sucky as this was I never had the thought to commit suicide. I mean I thought about it just as if you think about the possible outcome of an everyday event.
I was never going to do that, my home life was…good. My parents loved me and my sister, she is two years younger than me. She used to be my best friend too. My mom didn’t show any signs of our disability until she was 18 and she started using a rolling walker at the age of 50ish.
They say those who develop a condition later in life have a harder time coping with it compared to those who get thrown into the disability at birth. As much as my mom tried to protect me from life because she thought anything I did outside of the house was going to kill me. She did love me.
She might have not even thought that extreme, but to be totally honest she did seem like she took some loony pills. Over all the years of her yelling at me and trying to get me to not live life because of some extremely rare circumstance that will never happen, I came to resent my mom.
And you know what man? She did love me…she was just trying too hard. There is such a thing as caring too much. And this applies for anyone, disabled or not.
If your mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, stepparent try to stop you from making the same mistakes they did, or maybe they didn’t. Either way if you can’t live life, you grow to resent them. Yes, you don’t want your kid to go to jail but you need to let them fail. That’s how we learn, even if we’re 19 years old, we’re still doing that thing of cause and effect. You can tell us all day what the effect might be, and we might even listen to you, but we won’t really know until we test it.
I was in fifth grade and getting made fun of was an everyday occurrence, and as used to it as I was didn’t it was not a shity experience.
(If it seems like my story took a sharp turn it’s because it did, I have been away from this post for two or three days now)
I never ever thought someone would be physically violent towards me, and other than a one off experience in fifth grade no one was.
There was this guy, this kids name was Brandon…and I guess the fact that I remember his name means that the experience has been lodged in the back of my head for the past 20 years or so. I do not remember much about this kid other than he was one of those who made fun of me close to every day.
No particular moment other than this comes to mind. And as much as he is an asshole for doing it, I do remember asking him to do it.
It was a typical day if I remember correctly, I don’t remember any snow and lots of sun. School got out at whatever time it got out and I was planning on walking home. At that age walking was something I could actually do! You always were able to clearly see that I was physically disabled, but I was actually able to walk, for a good distance too.
At the age when I walked my knees didn’t come up as much as a “typical” persons might. That being said my feet dragged behind me in the process of taking another step forward, my right foot being one to turn inward and drag behind me more so than my left foot. While all this was going the movement of my body would cause my head to bounce up and down while swinging to the left and to the right.
Much later in life spasticity was introduced, not that is was introduced, it just became more prominent. One of the main reasons why I feel as if I can’t walk like I used to is due to the fact that I always walked off of momentum and I still want to, but my legs won’t and can’t keep up with how fast my torso would like to travel. Walking slower just causes my to lose my balance anyways.
My house was less than a block away from school, a good walking distance, maybe a 5 to 10 minute walk depending how fast you were.
School gets out, and just like most elementary schools in America there was a playground complete with monkey bars, basketball courts, a slide type thing, a pyramid of large truck tires, monkey bars, and a few other things here and there.
My best friend at the time lived across the street from me, but I was older than him so he didn’t go to the same school at the same time, if he did we were a good three grades apart. I would have walked home with him if it was a possibility.
Like most young kids I spend time after school playing around and attempting to make friends who were just making fun of me the whole time.
The monkey bars, sorry if that is not the PC name or whatever, were five feet above the ground and ran on for about fifteen feet. When you’re only three feet tall everything seems huge, that being said five feet seemed like ten feet.
Speaking of height and age, when I was 10 years old and had a teacher who was 30 years old they seemed so tall and so old. Now that I’m 31 and meet a 30 year old teacher part of me feels like being a teacher at the age of 30 is an impossibility because they are not that tall and not that old.
These monkey bars were sitting upon a bunch of gravel.
There Brandon came. I can’t remember how the conversation happened but I do know that I was disabled and was therefore treated as if I was the kid no one would touch. I can’t sit here and say that I didn’t talk shit to entice him because I might have, but I don’t think I did.
In some shape or form he told me that he was going to kick rocks in my face.
I didn’t expect him to actually do it. At that point violent activity upon me borders on the line of discrimination, it does not go quite that far. But beating up an handicapped boy, that is defenseless, is something that, something that I don’t think I need to tell you is wrong.
I dared him to do it, and he did, I remember the feeling of not even being able to fathom the event that was now taking place. I do not remember talking shit to him, if I was I could kind of understand it, but based on who I am today I really do not think I did.
I was already on the ground for some reason. As soon as he started kicking rocks at me my first idea was to bury my head in my lap allowing myself to protect my face. What feels like 10 minutes, but must have only been one, went by and I flared my arms open, still on my knees, I kept reaching one hand forward trying to grab him.
I was beyond angry and if I was physically able to I would have ran up to him just to grab him by his hair and walked over to the basketball court slamming his face into the concrete until his forehead started to bleed.
I know…that’s bad and extremely violent; but that is how mad I was at the time.
I looked like a zombie on cocaine that didn’t have any legs who was reaching for food that kept running around in circles.
When I realized that this was pointless and I was not going to catch him I went back into a turtle and just stayed there until he ran off.
I think he got in trouble and was suspended for awhile, and the whole time this was going down two of his friends were standing there laughing the whole time.
I’m glad I was not able to physically beat this kid up, I was so mad that I could of very well turned him into a vegetable. I’m glad I didn’t; I’m not even a violent person, but part of me is scared of what life would be like if I could be.
I just don’t get it.
That has been in my head for a few weeks now, and now it’s out. There are very few people I told that story to. My fiance didn’t even know that story until she asked, “What are you writing about.”